Nov 10, 2020

Top 3 Risks Facing Manufacturers in the Age of Digital Transformation (and How You Can Mitigate Them)

This article was originally published on CyberSaint Security.

As industries continue to embrace digital transformation, the manufacturing industry has lagged in terms of digitalization. As manufacturers have begun to embrace digitalization strategies, we have seen a massive shift towards data protection, industry 4.0, and ‘smart factories.’ For manufacturing companies, undergoing a digital transformation will look different for each case, but doing so can help increase productivity and reduce resources. We have identified the top three key risks CISOs and cybersecurity practitioners face when undergoing a digital transformation in the manufacturing industry.

Supply Chain Risks Facing Digitized Manufacturers

Supply Chain advancements through artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics tools have brought much-needed improvements to many organizations. Still, these implementations are not widespread throughout the industry, nor do they do enough alone to protect against potential cybersecurity threats, supplier relationships, or distribution disruptions, which may hinder day-to-day operations. One of the most significant issues currently with supply chain management is the use of legacy systems. Legacy systems often come with maintenance issues that become more prevalent over time, incompatibility with modern solutions, weak security, no update support, and inflexibility, all at the expense of the customer experience. These outdated technologies include hardware, network infrastructure, operating systems, CRMs, and ERPs. Using an integrated risk management solution like CyberStrong allows organizations to get a full scope of their supply chain and networks within it to identify vulnerabilities and optimize your transformative initiatives towards digitalization in real-time.

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Digitized Manufacturers

Data breaches remain one of the biggest growing threats to organizations today, and the need to stay compliant with frameworks that protect sensitive networks and information grows ever more critical. Thankfully, cybersecurity frameworks like the NIST CSF support any sized organization to become compliant and protect their assets. Organizations undergoing a digital transformation initiative should always prioritize security as a core focus. Yet, by evolving cybersecurity efforts and utilizing risk management best practices, mitigating cybersecurity vulnerabilities will become a replicable process for the organization. Thankfully, using an integrated risk management solution can help streamline these efforts and save the organization valuable time, effort, and resources towards becoming compliant and view its cybersecurity posture in a whole new way that can help align the security with business objectives.

Federal, State, and Local Regulations for Digitized Manufacturers

Historically, the manufacturing industry has been issued a staggering amount of regulations by the federal government alone. Since 1981, there has been, on average, one regulation introduced per week for manufacturers. Even more surprising is that none have been removed since being implemented. This influx has resulted in a staggering amount of restrictions on organizations, many of which come from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While these regulations serve to protect organizations and consumers, and the planet, keeping track of regulatory compliance in manufacturing is staggering. Adopting an integrated risk management solution into a digital transformation strategy can ease these processes exponentially. This can be done by auditing outdated and inefficient policies and tracking progress towards updated policies that can assist the organization in proving its compliance and avoiding costly fines and halts in production.

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